We all have things of significance that happen in our lives. However, what is significant to one person maybe not even register in the memory banks of another. This happened to me one time when I caught up with a college friend who reminded me that we had been pulled over by a police officer while I was driving to visit my aunt and uncle in the small town of Hillsdale, MI. I do not get pulled over often, in fact I can count the times on one hand … I think…. I say that because I had no recollection of the event. Perhaps it was because the policeman did not give me a ticket that I do not remember.
In life, this is true for ourselves as well. We are bombarded with experiences every day that form who we are. When trying to determine your career path, it is the memories that stick with you, for better or worse, that often provide the most insights into the area that will ignite your passion. For example, you may know the name Susan Komen because it was her death that inspired the ubiquitous pink ribbon and Race for the Cure. However, you may not know the name Nancy Goodman Brinker. Nancy is Susan’s sister and the force behind the pink ribbon movement. Nancy felt if Susan’s doctors had been better trained in treating breast cancer, her sister might still be alive. It was through her pain and love for her sister that she found her calling. Not everyone who loses a sister devotes their life to finding a cure, but for some, it is a signpost to their passion and life’s calling.
When people find their passion, they find themselves. This is a process that takes work and dedication and a willingness to go on a different path than your mother may like you to go on. On my Art of Potential show I had an incredible interview with Jim McNeely on this very subject. Below are his thoughts on signposts and passion:
“In all people’s lives, there are signposts that helped to shape the person that they have become. These signposts can be a simple event that quickly brought attention to something that became a passion or a series of events that opened new worlds of interest or ignited a passion. For me there were a few, a triple homicide in the quiet town I grew up in, a chimney fire on a Christmas eve night and a fraternity house fire that claimed the lives of three of my classmates. These events put me in touch with feelings I had about bad things happening in the lives of good people. Although I did not know it at the time, opportunity would come where I could make a difference in this arena. My first opportunity came with a college work-study job – where I worked as a student security supervisor. My second opportunity came as a result of a plan I devised to create an opportunity for myself after hearing a customer rave about their newly installed security system.
When I came in touch with my passion I realized that with a measure of ingenuity I could learn a new business that catered to the driving belief that I didn’t want to see good people harmed by fire, burglary or home invasion. Today I am a sub-dealer for Advantage Security representing ADT, the largest security provider in the world. I am big believer that if you want something strongly enough and are willing to step out on faith to go after it, things will work out in your favor. If you are out of work, think about the things you are passionate about and ask the question, how can I use this passion to serve my fellow man? The answer will come if you are committed to taking the steps to find the answer. Take inventory of your strengths and make them the cornerstone to taking action to the preceding question. As I took inventory of my strengths I reconnected with my passion to write and teach and as a result I started a blog that has been recognized as one of the top fifty blogs on home security and personal safety called Home Safe Home: the Home Security and Personal Safety Site.
I also started giving free personal safety seminars to homeowner association groups and other civic organizations that needed information on my subject matter. Be willing to volunteer; you never know what doors it may open up.
The world needs more people with a pioneering spirit that are willing to create their own opportunities. You can bargain with the world for a penny or you can demand what you are worth. Think about what you want in life. Write it down and act with what you have to get it.
Utilize all the free tools at your disposal. Network on business sites like Linkedin. Join groups that are related to the field you are passionate about. Read trade magazines to stay abreast of industry trends and seek out mentors that are already successful in that field and ask them questions.
Don’t be afraid to work your way up from the bottom; you won’t be there long. Use creativity and make yourself standout. People with passion and faith take risks and they know that they will receive their reward. When searching for a job don’t go into the situation just looking for a paycheck- go with the attitude that you are going to be essential in solving a critical problem that the employer has. If you help people get what they want-you will get what you want!
The best advice I ever received from my mentor was to never be afraid to ask for help. You can accomplish more with the combined efforts of others than you can on your own. If you get stuck in your quest, seek out someone that has the answers and ask for their help. Not everyone wants money, there are many people that get their reward just from being able to assist-but you will never know that until you ask.
The world needs more people that are willing to get up and go forward after being knocked down. Keep striving for the top and summit will soon come into view. Once you have arrived don’t forget to reach back and help others.”
Jim is a living, breathing example of a man who followed his passion and as a result, cares deeply about his work. He got there by identifying a problem he felt strongly about, he proposed a solution and is now working on eradicating the problem. The vehicle for his success is his own business http://trianglehomesecurity.com. This is how people find career fulfillment because they believe what they are working towards has value. To learn more about this process, I highly recommend listening to the Art of Potential show we did together.